Statement by Ambassador James Kariuki at the UN Security Council meeting on Sudan 

Thank you, President. I thank Ms Wosornu, Mr Martina and Mr Skau for their briefing. We are grateful to OCHA, WFP and FAO for alerting the Council to this urgent crisis. And to Switzerland and Guyana for convening the Council so swiftly. I welcome the participation of the Representative of Sudan.

 President, the risk of famine in Sudan, set out in OCHA’s White Note, is of extreme concern. After a bad harvest, severe hunger will deepen, harming vulnerable people the most. Most of the fatalities will be children under five. We pay tribute to the UN, international and Sudanese humanitarian staff working in extreme conditions to alleviate this suffering.

I’ll make three points:

First, the White Note is clear that obstruction of humanitarian access by the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces is resulting in the starvation of the Sudanese people. Using starvation as a method of warfare is prohibited by international humanitarian law. 

The Sudanese authority’s decision to allow extremely limited humanitarian access from Chad is nowhere near enough to meet the soaring humanitarian needs, especially whilst crossline access remains completely blocked.

We call on the warring parties to urgently ensure and facilitate unimpeded access via all routes, both cross-border and crossline, including through the vital route at Adre.

Second, we need increased humanitarian funding.

The United Kingdom has provided over $54 million in humanitarian aid to the people of Sudan this financial year. And we are providing financial support to those fleeing to neighbouring countries.

We welcome the upcoming France, German and EU-hosted pledging event, and appeal to the international community to increase funding to avoid the horrific scenario of one million excess deaths in Sudan this year. 

But while funding is important, this man-made crisis ultimately requires a political solution.

So third, the fighting needs to stop. The world is witnessing the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of a conflict that should never have begun.  

The failure of the SAF and RSF to implement a Ramadan ceasefire and immediately facilitate unimpeded humanitarian access in line with Council resolution 2724, is unacceptable. We call on both to stop fighting immediately and return to negotiations.

Given the clear warning of impending famine, it is imperative that the Council remains siezed of this issue and that we hold ourselves, and the warring parties, accountable for delivering the recommendations in the White Note.

Published 20 March 2024